The messenger logo

US Ambassador Meets Opposition, Comments on Sanctions Against Russia

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Friday, March 18, 2022
The US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan held a meeting with opposition members of parliament on March 17. According to her, very good discussions took place, during which they talked about the current developments in the region and her meetings in Washington.

After the meeting, she emphasized the importance of two key issues - constant communication with all political parties in order to express US support for Georgia; and unity against unprovoked Russian aggression.

Degnan has also touched upon Georgia's responses and stance in the face of current catastrophic events taking place, namely Russian unjust and unprovoked military intervention in Ukraine - the war in the biggest country of Europe that the whole world has been observing for over 3 weeks now. To condemn Russian aggression, the West imposed a series of sanctions on Russia and is providing military, economic, and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. The cities of Ukraine are being bombed and attacks take place not only on military facilities but also civilian ones, even places like shelters, hospitals, and educational institutions become targets of Russian artillery.

As of now, Georgia has shown its support to Ukraine in international institutions like CoE, United Nations, and such. Humanitarian assistance has also been sent and mass demonstrations have been taking place on the main avenue of the capital, Rustaveli, where people gathered to show solidarity to fellow Ukrainian people and condemn Russian aggression; they also demanded the government to increase the support, however, the head of the gov’t PM Irakli Gharibashvili and members of the ruling party have been reluctant to join the sanctions imposed by West.

“I think it is important not to confuse the issues when we talk about the implementation of international sanctions. Georgia is fulfilling international sanctions,” Degnan said, noting it must be understood that Georgia, like most countries, enforces international sanctions as much as it can.

The ambassador also remembered that a billion dollars were allocated to support Georgia in 2008. The US and other countries have made significant investments to help strengthen Georgia's containment capabilities. Georgia's defense forces are stronger than they were in 2008, which is the result of strong cooperation and partnership in the field of security with Georgia, the US, and Georgia's other friendly countries. She emphasized that in the current situation, it is very important now that we all show a united front against this Russian aggression, which is killing thousands of citizens and destroying Ukrainian cities.

“The sanctions are aimed at influencing Russia's actions. I state clearly, no one is asking the Georgian government to impose bilateral sanctions if they do not want to if that is not what they have decided to do. Bilateral sanctions are to be decided by the Government of Georgia. What is expected from all countries, including my country, which stands against Russian aggression, is the implementation of the international sanction regime.

According to her, Georgia has always been a good partner in the enforcement of international sanctions, be it sanctions against Iran or other countries that work against the interests of countries like Georgia, the United States, and all countries that believe in freedom, stability, and security.

“So I think it's important not to confuse issues when we talk about enforcing international sanctions. Georgia is fulfilling international sanctions. Many sanctions may not have a direct impact on Georgia. So, I think it's important to understand that Georgia, like most countries, enforces international sanctions as much as it can. There are consequences for any country that does not comply with the international sanction regime. We all know this. I think the key issue is that we all send a single message of support to Ukraine, and one way to do that is to enforce the international sanctions regime,” Degnan concluded.

The US ambassador was asked by journalists about the construction of a road connecting Georgia and Chechnya which was mentioned at a meeting of the Russian Security Council. As Kelly Degnan noted in response to a question, it is important that Russia first fulfills the promises it made in 2008 regarding Georgia.

“As I remember, this road is quite an old project and was designed around 1970-1980. However, it should be noted that before Russia talks about any new projects, roads, and promises, it is necessary to fulfill the agreement reached in 2008, promises and withdraw first of all Russian troops from the territory of Georgia. The main thing is for them to keep the promises they made after the 2008 war, and then talk about the rest of them,” Degnan said.

The Ministry of Infrastructure of Georgia also addressed this issue via a statement, where they expressed a desire to ‘respond to media reports on the construction of a Georgian-Chechen road to the Russian Security Council and state unequivocally that Georgia has never considered, nor will it consider, and construction of a road connecting Georgia with Chechnya.’ Ministry emphasized that the issue of road construction has never been on the agenda of the Georgian side and, therefore, any information about it is false.